Leon County Commission changes show issues outweigh party lines

Posted at 6:13 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 18:13:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The race to represent northeast Tallahassee was one of the biggest local upsets Wednesday night.

In Leon County Tallahassee City Commission Seat 2, Curtis Richardson defeated Bill Schack. Richardson received 70 percent of the votes.

In the Commissioner At Large race, Carolyn Cummings defeated Kelly Otte. Cummings taking 55 percent of votes.

In the Commissioner District four race, Brian Welch defeated Bryan Desloge. Welch received 57 percent of the vote.

Many voters looked at Desloge's latest commission votes and decided they would rather put their support behind someone else, leading to a surreal day for Chiles High School teacher and soon to be county commissioner Brian Welch.

"I've known a lot of people, but just this morning I've had people I don't know saying 'congratulations,'" said Welch.

Welch took 57 percent of the votes in the race for Leon County Commission District 4, unseating incumbent Bryan Desloge.

"I think the people on the northeast were looking for a change, and our previous commissioner had been there for 14 years," Welch said. "A part of my messaging was bringing a new perspective to the table."

Leon GOP Chairman Evan Power says Desloge's support of a mask mandate and curfew during the pandemic sent those northeast voters to democrat Welch.

"It's the most conservative district in the county, and Bryan [Desloge] has a lot of years of service, but he got out of line with the conservative base, and it made it tough during re-election," said Power.

There was also bipartisan support from neighborhood associations.

"I'm pretty sure he got a lot of the protest votes against Bryan Desloge for his votes on Welaunee," said David Jacobson, the president of Stonegate Homeowners Association. "Now Brian Welch has to earn the support of many of those residents, many of whom are republican."

Welch came out on top as the pick for democrats and republicans.

To Power, it's proof that locally the issues outweigh the party.

"In a community like this where it's two to one democrat to republican, you see those party lines split local," Power said. "Especially after everything we've gone through with FBI corruption and problems presented. People are ready to fix their government, reduce crime, and nation party identities don't matter as much."

Power sued the county over the mask mandate this summer.